Tahograf did not abuse dominant position in tachograph servicing market

The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) found that the undertaking Tahograf from Sveta Nedelja did not infringe competition rules by alleged abuse of a dominant position in the VDO tachograph servicing market in the territory of the Republic of Croatia.

Tahograf is the authorised dealer of Continental Trading GmbH – the manufacturer of VDO-Kienzle tachograph devices.

The CCA opened the infringement proceeding on the basis of the complaint filed by the undertaking with which Tahograf terminated the servicing agreement.

Regardless of the fact that the termination of an agreement is in principle subject to judicial control, within the proceeding the CCA assessed only the facts and circumstances relating to the possible restrictions imposed by Tahograf on its authorised repair shops involving the purchasing of the original spare parts.

Within the meaning of competition rules the obligation of the authorised repairers who entered into an agreement with Tahograf to sell, resell and/or install original VDO spare parts raised no competition concerns. However, what might have raised competition concerns was the restriction regarding the obligation imposed on the customers to purchase the spare parts exclusively from Tahograf. Namely, parallel imports from authorised distributors from abroad must not be prohibited since it ensures the purchase of the original spare parts under a lower price.

However, in the course of the proceeding it could not be established with certainty that the undertaking with which Tahograf terminated the agreement incorporated original spare parts in the first place given the fact that the purchase prices for these parts from abroad were many times lower than the purchase prices under which Tahograf as an authorised dealer in Croatia could purchase the original spare parts from their manufacturer Continental Trading GmbH.

In addition, the CCA found that this was an isolated case on the account of the fact that in the relevant market there are some sixty undertakings present and some seventy workshops that signed the agreements with Tahograf, one of which filed the complaint with the CCA.

Thus, it has been established beyond any doubt that Tahograf did not abuse a dominant position in the market, in other words, did not impose restrictions on the contract repairers regarding the purchase of the original spare parts from other authorised dealers abroad.